Leadership Series: Part 2 on the Different Levels of Leadership

Leadership Series
Part 2 on the Different Levels of Leadership
By Otu Obot II

Second Step in Leadership - Permission

Last month, we spoke about “Position and the Rights that we have as leaders” (Maxwell, 2013). We learned that this is the first level within leadership and that our position without the influence that we have to share is a disservice to the staff that we serve. We learned that leaders should provide opportunities for their staff to grow through professional development. Also, lack of accomplishments, on paper, should not diminish the confidence a leader has in their staff. As we move from “Position to Permission” (Maxwell, 2013), we must understand the difference in the theme from level 1 to level 2. In level 1, the leader has the “Right” to expect compliance based on their position, whereas the level 2 leader seeks to build “Relationships” with employees and guide them to individual success.

In level 2, leaders must transcend from their desires and realize that success is tied to the relationships that they forge with their staff. Employees that respect you allow you to be efficacious. Maxwell shares, “If you have integrity with people, you develop trust. Trust is the foundation of Permission” (Maxwell, 2013, p. 53). In my opinion, level two leaders go from being untouchable to becoming accessible. Leaders in level 2 desire to build relationships with their staff instead of just holding a title. The position changes from leading behind a desk to leading side by side.

Leaders begin to learn what their staff aspires to gain from their current position and what goals they have to be leaders in their interest. I believe leaders in this level begin to figure out ways to use their influence and connections to provide opportunities for their staff. Maxwell encourages us by stating, “When leaders change from driving people in a positional environment to respecting people in a permission environment, their people go from feeling like a stake to feeling like a stakeholder” (Maxwell, 2013, p. 63). As leaders, we want to practice inclusivity with our staff and ensure they know we are accessible for their professional growth.

As we recap level 2, let us remember the importance of building relationships with our staff. Once we have a rapport with our staff and understand their desires beyond the role they play within the office and or organization, we are ready to elevate from level 2 - Permission and grow to level 3 - Production where “Relationships turn into Results” (Maxwell, 2013).

Tell us about a time when you got to know a staff member and they shared their professional aspirations or goals. Has your staff ever felt like a stake instead of a stakeholder? Why is it so important to build relationships with your staff? I look forward to your dialogue as we elevate to level 3 next month.

Maxwell, J.C. (2013). How Successful People LeadTaking Your Influence to the Next Level. New York.

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